Purchasing a new home can be both an exciting and daunting task. It can be an exciting prospect since you get to start a new chapter in your life, in a new neighborhood, with new faces to meet and a new environment to adapt to. However, it can also be daunting since it’s a significant investment that you want to get the most out of, just like heating and electric service projects. However, before making a purchase, every first-time buyer should be aware of the potential problems that they may encounter when inspecting and purchasing a home.
Sometimes, the prospective home might be offered at a price that seems too good to pass up, but there could be a lot of underlying issues. Always remember that purchasing a new home requires a lot of preparation and research so that you can get the most out of it. The same goes for the HVAC units that are installed in them. For first-time buyers, it might be enough that it starts and runs, but you need to be completely sure that it’s in great condition and is a proper fit for the home in which it’s installed.
In this post, Anthony's Cooling-Heating-Electrical, Inc. shares a comprehensive HVAC checklist for first-time homebuyers to follow.
Before we start, you’ll need to take note of a few important details about the home to determine if the HVAC system is a good fit for your home.
- How many bedrooms are there?
- How many bathrooms are there?
- What’s the home’s square footage?
- Is there a garage?
- What’s the yard size? Is it fenced?
- What roofing material was used and when was it last replaced?
- Are the wiring, plumbing and HVAC system functional?
Once you’ve checked on all of these things, you can start to inspect the HVAC unit more closely by following this checklist:
How Old Is the HVAC Unit?
It’s fairly easy to determine the age of the HVAC unit since you can check the serial number as well as its installation date. The serial number indicates its lifespan, but the length of time between when a unit is manufactured and when it’s installed can range from months to as long as a year, which can affect the manufacturer’s warranty. Even though it isn’t being used, the time it spends dormant can lead to dust infiltration and parts getting stuck because of a lack of lubrication. You might end up spending a lot more on HVAC and electrical repairs if you later find out that a dated unit was installed.
Also, it’s worth noting that having a brand-new HVAC unit doesn’t guarantee that it will perform flawlessly if it’s installed under the wrong conditions. While the installation date will give you an idea of when things became functional, it also helps you make a quick decision. The unit’s age shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in whether or not the HVAC unit is good enough, however.
Who Installed the HVAC Unit?
It’s one thing to have a quality HVAC unit, but you should back it up by having a reputable HVAC contractor install it. This allows you to get the greatest number of years out of your heating and cooling unit. It’s important to know who installed the HVAC unit, as this is an indicator of the workmanship and installation quality of the unit.
You can think of the installation process as the building blocks of your home. It’s the starting point that sets the stage for the rest of the project. Having an expert install the unit grants you peace of mind knowing that the unit was installed with the utmost care while having a second-rate HVAC installation contractor do it could lead to problems in the long run or the unit failing prematurely. It’s also worth checking if the unit has a transferable warranty so that you’re covered if anything goes wrong with it.
What Is the Unit’s Energy Rating?
Your HVAC contractor will tell you that you should check the unit’s SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, which should be located somewhere on your AC unit and the furnace, respectively. The higher the number indicated on the unit, the better the energy efficiency of the unit.
While this is a solid indicator of its energy efficiency, you shouldn’t rely solely on it, as external factors such as ductwork sizing, duct leakage, installation quality, unit age and system balance all have a significant impact on the unit’s performance. It’s important to understand the numbers and compare them with your usual monthly utility expenses to fully understand how the unit performs. An efficient unit should result in lower bills, but if you find out that they’re the same or even higher, then this might be a problem.
Repair & Maintenance Requirements
You should also check the repair and maintenance requirements of your prospective HVAC system. Granted, you might be able to spot a good deal on a unit, but if it requires a significant amount of maintenance and has costly electrical repairs due to its parts, then you should consider looking for other options.
Consult your HVAC professional about inspecting the unit and assessing its energy efficiency. You can take this opportunity to ask questions about the unit, such as how much it takes to repair broken parts, how frequently it needs to be maintained, and how much it costs to keep it running at optimal levels. These minute details make all the difference in the long run. Keep in mind that your heating and cooling system makes up a large portion of your monthly utility costs. This is why you’ll need to research a pre-installed HVAC unit so you know what to expect when you inherit it.
Anthony's Cooling-Heating-Electrical, Inc. is your leading provider of air conditioning, heating, and electrical installation and repair services. Our HVAC services save you time, grant you peace of mind, and give you the most value for your money. Give us a call at (941) 347-0779 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve the counties of Sarasota and Manatee.